2013 Nobel Peace Prize Concert
Syrian artist Omar Souleyman not only changed the vibe of weddings throughout the Middle East with his Shaabi street sound but also brought it to the West through his notorious late night festival slots. After three compilations and a live release, Wenu Wenu is the first album to be recorded in a studio which was produced by Kieran Hebden (Four Tet).
Born in 1966, Souleyman grew up in Ra’s al’-Ayn, a Syrian town in the northeastern region of Jazeera. He became an increasingly prominent act on the local wedding circuit, eventually generating an estimated 500 bootleg recordings and plenty of wild YouTube videos. The one-time mason has been updating his native land’s traditional dabke dance music since 1996 but Souleyman only got his first exposure outside the Middle East on Sublime Frequencies’ 2004 pastiche I Remember Syria.
On his new album Wenu Wenu, Souleyman applies his adaptable dabke to new songs, old favorites, and traditional numbers. Often described as “Syrian Techno” and recorded primarily live in the studio, Wenu Wenu distills Omar and Rizan’s enthralling live performances into a fireball of Middle Eastern passion and excitement.